Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Haiti - The Year Ahead

After six months in Haiti it is a good time to look ahead with a clear focus on how we can best help the people in Haiti over the next year. The time in Haiti has provided a great look at the areas that most need help, some are "helpable" others aren't. I was recently asked to write an article for a hemophilia publication here in the States. It was a really good exercise to review the experiences I've been through in Haiti as it helped provide a vision for the work ahead.

Over the next year we will continue working with L'hopital St. Francois de Sales in bringing in foreign surgeons to supplement the quantity and quality of surgical services offered in Haiti. A key focus of this task will be in continuing to provide training opportunities for Haitian residents and students by having them continue to work alongside our visiting surgeons in the operating room.

We will expand the number of mobile medical clinics we coordinate over the next year. I am meeting with Medical Ministries International in Dallas later this month as part of this focus. They will provide medical teams based on a schedule I provide them if we decide to partner together. I will also be working with Haiti Hospital appeal and a mobile maternity/pediatric medical clinic bus they are bringing in to Haiti.

The third focus will be on the community of Shada. This focus will primarily be in the form of financial support. The clinic is very well established, and expertly run by a dear Haitian lady named Madame Bwa. However, it is underfunded. They are currently only able to afford a doctor 1 day a week to provide care for a huge population. We are currently in the process of expanding this to two days a week. It only costs $1,800 a year to hire a doctor and open the clinic each additional day a week. Our goal is to be able to support 2 added days each week. Long term, we plan to help this community in education and micro-industry as well.

Our final focus over the next year will be in the development of a national hemophilia patient registry and treatment program. Haiti is perhaps the last country in the world with such a program. While statistics show that there should be around a thousand patients with hemophilia in Haiti; we only know of one at this time. This program will help save the lives of the other 999. We are working with Laurie Kelley and her Save One Life foundation in this effort. Dr. Eugene Maklin, a wonderful Haitian physician, is our Haitian partner in this focus.

As you can see we have a lot of work going on in Haiti. The best thing about all the work is that each area includes, and contributes to the growth of, Haitian professionals. Ideally. our involvement will be able to decrease as theirs increases over the next few years, allowing us to move on to other areas of need in the country.

Our current "All Things Are Possible" campaign is going very well. We are over one fourth of the way to our goal of having 400 - $10 monthly donations. Mary Morgan Gentry recently held a very successful yard sale in Nashville to support this mission - All proceeds from this are going to the Shada clinic. Tigger Gore and my son Chris are planning another yard sale in the Atlanta area in September, along with a benefit dinner and silent auction in October.

How can you help? Please pray for Haiti along with all the people helping there. For that matter, pray for the poor all over the world. Until you've ministered to people in a true third world country, you have no idea how truly blessed you are. Other ways: Be a part of the All Things Are Possible campaign. Tell your company or foundation about our work in order to obtain matching donor funds. Donate silent auction items for our benefit dinner in October. Please email me at for details or to participate in any of these.

God has been so amazing in how He has helped us help the Haitian people. He has recently provided me with a very good job in Atlanta that is very understanding about me working in Haiti. While they are allowing me one month off every quarter to work in Haiti; it is also allowing me to completely support myself. This means all donated funds now go directly to the work in Haiti. We are also taking steps to formalize A Healthier Haiti and make it a stand alone organization. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your prayers, encouragement, and support over the past six months. It has been an incredible learning experience. I hope you join in our excitement about our areas of focus for the next year.

Grace and peace,

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